REISSUES are always fun to watch for; you never know what you're going to find. On the one side of the spectrum, you come across Hippocrene doing a facsimile edition of Baedeker's Palestine, first issued over a century and a half ago; on the other, there's Grove Press doing a "classic" of a scant 20 years vintage, Robert Rimmer's The Harrad Experiment. That landmark '60s novel (was its setting real?), with its educational institution featuring coed sex, can hardly seem as steamy now as it did then. In fact, it must be downright quaint. North Point Press, one of the many small California houses, is publishing the only novel by M.F.K. Fisher, best known for her essays on eating, cooking and related matters. It's called Not Now, But Now and food, for those of you anxious Fisher fans, is the story's Leitmotif. However, it may be best not to eat before reading Ballantine's Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: The Best of H.P. Lovecraft or Academy Chicago's The Best Ghost Stories of H Russell Wakefield, selected and introduced by Richard Dahlby.
Bertolt Brecht and Nicholas Nickleby are popular, and so is the above-named J.C. SuarMes -- he's got titles listed with three different publishers. (Or maybe four, as one appears in two separate ads.) Graham Greene has a new novel, Monsignor Quixote (see review on page one), out this month from Simon and Schuster, who've been his regular publishers for some time now. But an eccentric tract of his, which caused a sensation when it was published in France, is being done over here by an import arm of a British publisher, The Bodley Head. J'Accuse: Nice, the Dark Side has a text in both French and English and contains Greene's attack on organized crime in that Mediterranean city. (Through his friendship wih a Frenchwoman he'd known since she was a child and her daughter, Greene become involved in the sordid underworld of Nice, which he claims operates with police sanction.) Zaftig is starting to be fashionable again: there's The Big Beauty Book: Glamour for the Fuller Figure Woman by Ann Harper and Glenn Lewis (Holt), Big & Beautiful by Ruthanne Olds (Acropolis) Woman, Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are! by Carole Shawl. Basic Books, in a related but no doubt "weightier" volume (their books are gennerally serious, scholarly), lets Edward Shorter compile A History of Women's Bodies. Then, as long as you're eating, lovers of Mireille Johnston's superb handbook of Provencal recipes, Cuisine of the Sun will find this book season worthwhile if only because Random House is advertising a sequel, Cuisine of the Rose: Classic French Cooking from Burgundy and Lyonnais.
Looking at Publishers Weekly in early September does tend to make one a bit slaphappy; knowing that, publishers, those merry folk, toss in a few wince-making titles to jolt you when your eyes start to glaze over. Macmillan authors Scott Carouge and Jacki Merri Meyer go for the obvious with I Loathe New York: A Humorous Look at the Rotten Apple while University of Minnesota editors Walter Blair and Raven I. McDavid, Jr. follow the same route with The Mirth of a Nation: America's Great Dialect Humor. Better yet, or maybe not, is Kampmann & Co.'s The Lone Groover's Little Read Book by Tony Benyon. Is there a chance that that isn't what most of these 253 PW pages worth of words, ink and paper won't be?
I feel my annual deja vu settling in.